Monday, December 16, 2013

Progressive vs the Regressive – A way forward out of the impasse

The Bodu Bala Sena appears peeved. They allege that the Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church is more powerful than the 33  Senior Prelates of the Maha Sangha, the senior most Monks of Theravada Buddhism.

One must ask why such a perception got a hold of  the BBS which looks for ways to attract the attention of the Buddhists, while at the same time attempting to vilify other Religions, both of which are extremely disingenuous acts.

The link above appears at first reading to corroborate this allegation, as the senior priests in the Catholic Church have appealed to the First Lady, herself a Catholic, to intervene and STOP the proposed KATANA Casino Complex.

It is time we remove ourselves from this unnecessary griping of religious favoritism and face the facts. There is NO question that the Buddhist Clergy in Sri Lanka have extremely powerful political leanings one way or another, and this affects the thinking of the mostly Buddhist population, and the BBS and Sihala Ravaya, the more recent incarnations of the extremist factions (they somehow vehemently deny this tag as their measure of fundamentalism and extremism differs from my own) seem to further enforce this truism.  

When something does not go your own way you find answers. Often it is against your opponent that you label the blame for your own incompetence or inability to influence opinion. It is important that when the religious engage in politics, that fewer people listen to them or take notice and their power is diluted. The Cardinal on the other hand takes a principled stand on matters and it is a unified voice of the Church unlike the fractious Buddhist Clergy and obviously has more impact and the Govt. does listen as they represent a large voter base that they wish to canvass. (there are inevitably differences within the Church that they try to keep internalized for the sake of unity.) 

Unlike with the Muslim vote that often is only given to Muslims, the Catholic vote given to Catholics is spread more evenly amongst the political divide, and is therefore up for grabs, and those not in the Catholic belt are not obliged to vote on religious but only party lines. These fundamental differences mean that the courting this voterbase ensures a more receptive audience for their needs.
It is time this fundamental point is appreciated by the boorish Ven Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, who in my opinion does not do his cause any good, nor his faction or faith. He is a one hit wonder, and will fade away when his audience tires of him, but is likely to cause a lot of damage to the unity and security of the citizens in Sri Lanka while he is in a position to vent his spleen.

We then come to the real issue in Sri Lanka, namely that of the inclusivity and belonging of all races so that we may live in harmony. This is something that is becoming increasingly distant, and in playing the race card, using these splinter groups like the aforesaid are attempting to alienate and by that force them to seek greener pastures or flee the Country, depending on your point of view.

History has shown that regression does not pay. The world is moving in one direction and it appears that our leaders wish to stay in power by moving in the opposite direction as that is the only means by which they can convince an audience ignorant of reality, where their loyalties lie.

In a progressive world, where we embrace new technology and change, something that we MUST do if we are to survive, where 2.5M of our citizens live overseas, as opportunities are greater for them there than here, we cannot entertain regressive ideas of fear of being overrun by other races, religions and ideals. If we had closed borders where there was limited interaction with the outside world, I can then understand the logic of not wanting to be influenced by other traditions to preserve ours.

Many of those advocating a negative mindset are those who fear change, fear the loss of their power, and even more are unable to convince the masses that their position is the more believable. In short the losers. So we must choose between the losers, and the thinkers and wonderers that wish for a better society from what we have. 

I take it that our society is in need of improvement not further destruction. There is a simple solution, namely exploration of the mind by way of visionary education, that allows for reasoning, questioning, and rationalization, and NOT the acceptance of what elders say. If by this process, it reinforces what elders say that is fine, but not by blind adherence of faith. This concept challenges religion as we know it as it questions faith, but faith can be reinforced by a rational process of the mind, and not by blind adherence to teachings.

It is time to ditch the fear of the unknown and begin a fondness for life. You will be surprised as to how quickly your inbuilt prejudices disappear and wonder what made you a majoritarian with a minority complex. It applies equally to all races and religions when you place your position on this Earth before nationhood, race and religion, which are all transient in the scheme of importance and only meant to stifle progress. 

Man can live merely by the application of the Rule of Law, in a just and equitable manner, nothing else matters.

Many would say that this is pie in the sky day dreaming, but I know it is inevitable, and I am just trying to speed this up, and remove some of the potential for conflict in the interim, with violence.

Just imagine what SL will be like 25 years hence. Let us get there without pain and suffering, because we will get there no matter what. The current path is through pain and suffering, and so we must aim to do so without.     


Anonymous said...

your call for education reform which encourages critical thought, rationalization, and reasoning will lead to a population that is forever arguing -- which is what sri lanka is today. i can think of few other countries in which people will try to rationalize their position regardless of how wrong it is. if the sky is blue, someone will argue until their face itself is blue, that the sky is purple. this is sri lanka.

what i recommend in addition to your ingredients for a successful education system is creativity. creativity goes beyond just talking and includes a doing aspect which is necessary. in addition, creativity, along with necessity, is the mother of innovation which is what improves society and makes it more livable for everyone.

ethics is another ingredient that must be incorporated into sri lankan culture. it is already taught in the temples, media, etc. but the public is not absorbing the message. most likely because the household is the greatest teacher, and it is in the household where the seeds of dishonesty, manipulation, avarice, etc. are taught in so many ways, which you can elaborate more upon in your blogs.

imagine if sri lankans were a population of intelligent, creative, and ethical people. the island would truly become a paradise rather than what it is today which is more akin to a bucket of crabs each trying to tear the other one down as it tries to move higher in the bucket.

Anonymous said...

Good discussion. And Anon 1 brings up a good point. But we should also ask why are we so argumentative without being creative? IMHO, it is an intelligent people's reaction to our teaching system which teaches us by rote learning rather than teaching us to think carefully and clearly, and also logically and ethically. Our education system is very highly flawed.